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June 15 , 2010

Flaming Zeppelins: The Adventures of Ned the Seal


Cross-pollinating famous 19th-century fictional characters and historical figures from disparate sources, this wild, steampunk fantasy presents two consecutive tales of madcap adventure. Hilarious and unpredictable, the first section follows Wild Bill Hickock, Annie Oakley, George Custer, Sitting Bull, and Buffalo Bill Cody’s head—which is affixed to the top of a mechanical body—as they take the Wild West Show to Japan by zeppelin. Further exploits involve Frankenstein as an aphrodisiac for a local shogun, encounters with Captain “Bemo” and his submersible, and a trip to the “island of Dr. Momo.” The second phase of this nonstop romp—partly inscribed by a courageous young seal on his trusty notepad—accompanies Mark Twain and Jules Verne against the backdrop of a Martian invasion. Escaping the carnage on a speedboat converted into a touring balloon, the boisterous group encounters more perilous experiences in the form of an island of pirates, a steam-powered robot, a Kong-sized ape, and multiple tears in the space-time continuum. Raucous and inventive, this dime-store pulp parody is rife with absurdist comedy while maintaining a literary scope.

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